The sharemarket enjoyed its best week in three months, boosted by a lift in commodity prices and relatively benign company profit results.
Stocks clawed back much of the previous week's losses that had tipped the S&P/ASX 200 into a bear market, defined as a loss of 20 per cent from its April high of almost 6000.
But the index failed to cross the pyschological barrier of 5000 points, valiantly reaching 4992.6 on Thursday before the market eased on Friday.
The benchmark index ended down 0.8 per cent on Friday at 4952.8, but up 3.9 per cent for the week. The All Ordinaries ended down 0.8 per cent to 5008.3, but up 4 per cent.
Fears about China's return to markets after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday were unfounded, and the Shanghai Composite Index enjoyed a strong week.
Also lifting the market was the more than 7 per cent rise in the oil price, driven higher by the hope that meetings between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers would produce a cut. Producers failed to reach an agreement but talks of cooperation buoyed spirits.
Meanwhile, the price of iron ore, Australia's biggest export item, jumped 8 per cent during the week to $US47.14 a tonne.
The miners enjoyed a lift this week. BHP Billiton rallied 10.1 per cent to $16.61, while Rio Tinto added 5.3 per cent to $42.62.
The materials index was the strongest performer for the week, up 7.7 per cent, followed by energy, up 6.1 per cent.
The banks were all higher, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.1 per cent to $73.43, National Australia Bank rallied 6.1 per cent to $25.62, ANZ Banking Group added 5.5 per cent to $23.40, and Westpac Banking Corporation rose 6.1 per cent to $29.78.
Telstra fell 5.2 per cent to $5.28 after reporting a flat profit and helped drag the telecommunications sub-index down 4.6 per cent, the only sector to end the week in the red.
Fellow blue chips Woolworths rose 3.5 per cent to $22.95 while Wesfarmers added 2.3 per cent to $43.43.
Overall reporting season so far is not as bad as the market had anticipated, Contango Asset Management chief investment officer George Boubouras said.
"Ex-resources, earnings are growing; they're not growing at a rapid rate, but that reflects the subdued growth in the economy," he said.
"It's quite a reasonable backdrop, nothing exuberant but I think markets feared worse going into reporting season," he said.
Reporting season delivered the week's best performing stock, Mineral Resources, which surged 37.4 per cent to $5.40 as it reported a $47.5 million profit and lifted its dividend to 8.5¢ per share.
Primary Healthcare also had a strong showing, up 32.4 per cent to $2.86 for the week after reporting a 28.5 per cent lift in first-half profit.
Cover-More Group was the week's laggard, down 14.3 per cent to $1.74 after it warned earnings in the first half would be 16.4 per cent lower.
Gold miners fell out of favour this week after a strong previous week as the gold price eased. Regis Resources and Evolution Mining finished the week 8.7 per cent and 8.4 per cent lower respectively.
The market overall was still being driven by global macroeconomic events, Equity Trustees head of asset allocation Paul Kasian said.
"There has been no real breakthrough, no fundamental change of what has been going on," he said.
But the stronger week suggested investors viewed the market was oversold, sparking some tentative buying, he said.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar received a boost from a boost in commodity prices this week but its run at US72¢ was halted by unemployment rising from 5.8 per cent to 6 per cent in January.
Late on Friday the currency was fetching US71.06¢, dipping briefly after comments emerged from Reserve Bank of Australia board member John Edwards who suggested the currency was still too strong.